Te Puia, Hemo Rd PO Box 334
Rotorua 3040, New Zealand.
+64 7 348 9047   info@tepuia.com

Operating Hours:
8am – 5pm Winter (April - September)
9am – 6pm Summer (September – April)

Geothermal


Incredible Earth Forces
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You will encounter bubbling mud, pools of boiling water still used for cooking, and stunning geysers. The Pōhutu geyser is the star of the show.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Pōhutu Geyser

Pōhutu (‘poor-hoo-too’) is the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. She erupts once or twice every hour and sometimes reaches heights of 30 metres (100 feet). Pōhutu means ‘constant splashing’ in Māori.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

History of Pōhutu

As well as being a spectacular sight, Pōhutu is the most reliable geyser on Earth. Eruptions can last from a few minutes to much longer. About 15 years ago, Pōhutu erupted for over 250 days. Pōhutu has been visited by royalty and many other famous people. However, because nearby residents used bores to tap into the valley’s geothermal resources, Pōhutu was once at grave risk of losing its power. Fortunately, a programme to close bores has ensured that today, Pōhutu continues to impress visitors once or twice an hour.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Papakura Geyser

Papakura geyser was once the jewel in the crown of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Many people believe that if it hadn’t become dormant, it would be as popular today as Pōhutu. Papakura used to erupt very consistently, up to heights of three metres (about 9 feet). The Papakura spring produced ample hot water and the geysers was so highly regarded that one of Te Puia’s famous guides, Maggie Papakura, named herself in honour of the geyser.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Te Horu Geyser – ‘The Cauldron’

Te Horu (Teh-Hor-du) Geyser used to erupt on a regular basis, up to heights of 7 metres (about 23 feet), until 1972, when all activity stopped. Te Horu is also known as ‘The Cauldron’, as air-cooled water from nearby Pōhutu Geyser sometimes lands in Te Horu’s vent. It is believes this delays Pōhutu’s next eruption. Te Horu displayed new signs of life in 1998 as water in its vent bubbled and began overflowing, but so far there have been no new eruptions.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Ngāraratuatara

For hundreds of years, the many geothermal hot pools in Te Whakarewarewa Valley have allowed our people to use hot water for cooking, washing, bathing and preparing flax. This cooking pool is named after the tuatara (too-a-tah-rah), an ancient lizard-like reptile only found in New Zealand.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Ngāraratuatara today

Today, Ngāraratuatara is used for Ingo, a unique cooking experience where fresh ingredients are lowered into the boiling water in baskets woven from flax. This cooking style is the same as locals have been using here for centuries. The hāngi (haa-ngee) is another popular Māori cooking style. A large pit is dug and hot rocks placed at the bottom. Meat and vegetables are placed in baskets, wrapped in leaves, lowered on top of the rocks and covered with soil. The geothermal heat infuses the kai (food) with a delicious flavour.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Purapurawhetu

Purapurawhetu (‘poo-rah-poo-rah-fet-oo’) means ‘star dust’. The Purapurawhetu mud pool takes its name from the small clusters of boiling mud in the pool. This resembles a pattern of stars, such as the Milky Way galaxy. The mud in this pool is dark because it contains small quantities of black sulphur.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

How Ngā mōkai-ā-Koko got its name

This mud pool is named after Koko, who was a notable chief of the Rotowhio pā (fortified village) in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Koko noticed that each time he visited the mud pool it reminded him of playful children – hence the name, which translates as ‘the cherished ones of Koko’. In more recent times Ngā mōkai-ā-Koko has also been called ‘frog pool’, as it is thought that the plopping mud resembles leaping frogs.

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Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Ngā mōkai-ā-Koko

This active mud pool is the largest and most impressive at Te Puia, with a depth of between 6–10 metres (about 20 to 33 feet). Activity in this mud pool is dependent on rainfall. When Ngā mōkai-ā-Koko is active the steaming bursts of mud reach temperatures of up to 95°C (about 200 °F).
Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Te Tohu geyser

Te Tohu was also named ‘Prince of Wales Feathers’ geyser in 1901, in honour of a British royal visit to Whakarewarewa. The royal guests noticed a resemblance between Te Tohu’s plume and the feathers on the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales. Te Tohu is called an ‘indicator’ geyser – it usually erupts just before Pōhutu, it’s neighbour. Te Tohu first sprang to life in 1886 following the eruption of Mount Tarawera. It has played almost continuously since 1992 – erupting to heights of up to 7 metres (21 feet).

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